June 30, 2021
This summer promises to be very challenging to those going on vacations. Personally, I don’t know why anyone would leave Michigan in the summer. We have beautiful summers (minus a couple of recent typhoons). But, this year, the beaches are full, the parks are full, you can’t reserve a campsite until July or August of 2022. In addition, restaurants, ice cream shops, and other destination places can’t fully open because they don’t have enough workers. Airbnbs were all booked a year ago. If you are flying, expect ridiculous prices for tickets, limited parking places at the airport, long lines for security, and a lot of stressed-out people due to too many passengers and not enough support. You can basically forget about getting a rental car since rental car fleets were all thinned down during the pandemic, and the chip shortage has made it difficult to get replacements.
If you are driving, you know that the amount of road construction we have is a perfect recipe for frustration. If you’ve been doing this for a while, you know that it takes one accident, one weather event or one mechanical issue to throw a monkey wrench into the gears. Some of you are detailed travel planners. In your mind, you do not allow for any of these variables to come into play, but if you don’t, you may very well lose your mind. So, here is my point.
When it comes to vacations, we tend to have unrealistic expectations. We imagine that everyone is happy, selfless, cooperative, and grateful. We imagine flights on time, perfect weather, no accidents, illness, broken bones, or hurt feelings. Then we imagine this nirvana moment when our offspring exude, “Oh dad, mom, you guys are the greatest! I am so beyond blessed to be your child and be able to enjoy this amazing trip that you have sacrificed so much for. Please forgive me for ever complaining about anything. I will from this moment on, share with my siblings, clean up the dishes, and clean up my room daily without being asked.” Has anything like this or anything remotely like this ever happened to trickle out the lips of your kids, even by accident? Yea, I didn’t think so. But, what did we expect? Did you ever say that to your parents?
It’s not just vacations. Life itself is full of unrealized expectations. For dozens of people in South Florida, the dream-life of condo living on the ocean is tragically lying in a massive pile of rubble that for now serves as their grave. The phone call or email from a friend startles us with news of difficulty, tragedy, or diagnoses that will change lives around us for years to come. So, why do we expect life to be easy? Why do we expect God to spoil us with smooth roads and fair skies? Are we that prone to forgetting about what happens in this life? If your experience is anything close to mine, the answer is yes. We are prone to forget, which is why I need to pray daily, “deliver us from evil.” It is around me and in me. But, one day, his kingdom will come and his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. But, until that day comes, I need on this day, daily bread and other well-timed graces to be hopeful and grateful.
Don’t forget, “Who are you praying for?”
Sunday’s text: 2 Peter 3:8-10